A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Brazil: Bahia Birding Bonanza II 2022

March 26-April 9, 2022 with Bret Whitney & Rafael Félix guiding

Our inaugural Bahia Birding Bonanza tour got off to an exciting start as we birded the tall mangrove forests and other habitats along the coast of Bahia, north of the capital, Salvador. This video condenses the first 3-4 days to about 6 minutes of memorable moments and highlight birds. HD video by Bret Whitney.

The huge state of Bahia, Brazil is about 83% the size of Texas, but has a much bigger birdlist – Texas has about 660, Bahia about 800 -- and almost all of the species are regularly occurring (i.e., breeders or migrants, few vagrants). Bahia encompasses a topographically and phytogeographically complex region of South America, with habitats ranging from well-preserved mangrove forests and coastal “restingas” (nutrient-poor white sands supporting a depauperate but highly endemic plant community) and tall, bromeliad-festooned Atlantic Forest, to the “Amazonian” enclave in southern Bahia that has been converted almost entirely to cultivation of cacau, thence west through the open cerrado associations, both “campo limpo” (“clean”, grassy) and “campo rupestre” (rocky, shrubby) savannas that cloak vast expanses of the interior. With such high diversity of landscapes, habitats, and endemic birds, Bahia offers an exceptionally rewarding birding experience – so, after years of nipping at the edges of Bahia toward the end of our long-running “Nowhere but Northeast Brazil” tour, we decided to design a “Bahia only” tour to follow it, concentrating on the most species-rich areas of the state: enter Bahia Birding Bonanza!

The 2022 tour was our inaugural run, and while it was overall a very good tour, the coincidence of a couple of strange but critical factors held our birding success to a little lower level than normal. First, unseasonably heavy rains had started in November (causing breakage of dams and landslides in Bahia), and carried through for months. This, we learned on the ground, had stimulated the unusually early onset -- and early termination -- of breeding activity of most birds. On top of that, the unfortunate circumstance of a spike of the omicron variant of COVID-19 in the US had caused Field Guides to cancel a number of January-February tours, including the Northeast and Bahia tours – which, however, we kept alive by shifting dates about 6 weeks later. The net result was that, by early April, birds were mostly done nesting and very quiet, little-interested in recording playback, so we met the challenges as best we could! Our tour group, guided by me and my native Bahian co-leader, Rafael Félix, was an exceptionally fun and jovial one, and everyone was very helpful not only with good spotting of both common and rare birds, but also with pointing birds out to others.

Our birding began with an early departure from Salvador to drive north along the Atlantic coast, with a couple of productive stops near Praia do Forte where we had fabulously close, prolonged views of the rare Fringe-backed Fire-eye (check out the video, below) and two rarely seen Maned Sloths! The northern coastal region of Bahia has an extensive forest of old-growth mangroves, and our morning there was wonderful as we saw Mangrove Rail and Little Wood-Rail right off the bat! A little later, we spotted a distant adult Rufous Crab-Hawk and had another adult bird calling loudly as it flew right over our heads; this hawk is rarely seen anywhere else in Brazil. Eric and at least a couple of other folks got to see a Green-and-rufous Kingfisher shoot past their boat, which is also rarely recorded in coastal Brazil. But the highlight, in terms of overall rarity, was getting lengthy scope views of Rafael’s beautiful, undescribed Pyrrhura parakeet that is a close relative of the widely disjunct Gray-breasted Parakeet heretofore considered endemic to the Serra de Baturité in northern Ceará state. Stay tuned for more news on the discovery and description of this isolated population, as the genetic work is just now getting underway.

We then flew from Salvador well to the south, at Vitória da Conquista. Before we could even get out of the airport, Maggie spotted a tinamou at the edge of taller grass that turned out to be a White-bellied Nothura – which stayed put for excellent views, Yip Yip! Three nights between Poções and Boa Nova was just about right for finding all of the mata-de-cipó (vine forest) specialties, which include several rare/endemic antbirds: the handsome Silvery-cheeked Antshrike, Barred Antshrike (the endemic, red-eyed “Caatinga” subspecies), Planalto Slaty-Antshrike, the highly distinctive Slender Antbird and Stripe-backed Antbird, and also Caatinga Antwren and Narrow-billed Antwren – what a haul! A fun afternoon at Boa Nova was spent on a rocky outcrop studded with flowering cacti (Melocactus species) that attracted a variety of hummers including several stunning male Ruby Topaz and a Stripe-breasted Starthroat. Atlantic Forest around Boa Nova produced excellent views of Crescent-chested Puffbird, Striated Softtail, Bahia Spinetail, Rio de Janeiro Antbird, Rufous Gnateater, and fancy Gilt-edged Tanagers. The hike to the ridge-line for Bahia Tyrannulet was successful, but it took extra work to pull up a secretive pair and there was precious little else vocalizing along the way. It was disappointing to be unable to reach the Giant Snipe marsh due to a late-afternoon rain falling on an already mucky road, but hey, we did depart Boa Nova with two excellent owls: Mottled (endemic Atlantic Forest borelliana) and Stygian!

Back near the coast, at Itacaré, certainly the outstanding highlight was a bunch of White-winged Cotingas low and close for several minutes as they fed actively on small fruits along a dirt road. Right in the same area, we found a gorgeous male Kinglet Manakin that performed perfectly for everyone to see and photograph -- a species we don't expect to see on any other of our tours. Bahia Antwren, Band-tailed Antwren, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, and Black-cheeked Gnateater were seen really well, and we had nice views of the nominate subspecies of Red-billed Scythebill (highly range-restricted in coastal southern Bahia). Excellent as all that was, though, by far the rarest sighting was of a flock of 22 Brown-backed Parrotlets that thought about dropping to check out our recording playback – coasting a bit as they looked down -- but opted to keep flying. The best-laid plans for calling Bahia Tapaculo, Gray-breasted Crake, and Russet-crowned Crake into view in front of our seated positions did not come to fruition -- it was apparently too late in the season and hormones had waned to the point of indifference. The beautiful forests at Serra Bonita produced great views of Least Pygmy-Owl, Spot-billed Toucanet, Black-necked Aracari, Yellow-fronted and Yellow-throated woodpeckers, the rare Plumbeous Antvireo, Ferruginous Antbird, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Swallow-tailed and Pin-tailed manakins, Sharpbill, and Green-headed and Red-necked tanagers. Sadly, however, we struck out on Pink-legged Graveteiro, although we found a nest (probably had been used in the past month) and enjoyed a couple of beautiful mornings of birding in places where we usually have found the graveteiro fairly easily.

The final venue of our tour was farther south on the coast of Bahia, near the little resort town of Porto Seguro. Here the VERACEL Reserve protects a huge area of rather low-stature forest on very sandy soils. The rare Hook-billed Hermit was seen exceptionally well this trip, perched close in good light for over a minute (VERACEL is the only reasonably reliable place for seeing this one), and a male Racket-tipped Thorntail was also seen nicely perched, although pretty much against the light. A male Ringed Woodpecker of the rare Atlantic Forest endemic subspecies tinnunculus stayed put for lengthy scope views, but a stubbornly calling Black-headed Berryeater at the same spot refused to approach close enough to be seen. I’m afraid I was the only person to get on a male Banded Cotinga that was hidden in a ball of leaves in a tree-crown; it flew off a long distance before anyone else had time to get on it as more than a shape in flight. Finally, our valiant effort for White-winged Potoo was unsuccessful, as not even a peep was heard, but in the process of looking for the potoo we found a Solitary Tinamou on its night roost, which was a pretty cool consolation prize!

All along the way, our group was generally careful and always respectful of local masking norms, health issues amongst us were none, and all tested negative the day before departure. I want to thank each of you for your participation in our first Bahia Birding Bonanza tour; as I said above, our little group was a really nice bunch of people! I am especially grateful to Eric Carpenter for kindly sharing his many excellent photos of birds seen on the tour. Rafael and I very much enjoyed being with you all, and hope to see most of you again for more good Brazilian birding adventures!

— Bret

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Tinamidae (Tinamous)

SOLITARY TINAMOU (Tinamus solitarius) [E]

The tinamou genus Tinamus comprises five of the largest, forest-based species, which roost at night on horizontal limbs about 15-20 feet above ground (all other tinamous sleep on the ground). The Tinamus are usually quite hard to get a decent look at -- but this trip we lucked out with superb scope views of a Solitary Tinamou on its night-roost, which I found with my thermal imaging scope! Check out the video, below ;-)

Solitary Tinamou. Yes, we let him/her go right back to sleep! HD video by Bret Whitney.

LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]

BROWN TINAMOU (Crypturellus obsoletus)

A few of us had a brief view of one (there may have been two) shyly slipping away on the ground.

VARIEGATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus variegatus) [*]

SMALL-BILLED TINAMOU (Crypturellus parvirostris) [*]

WHITE-BELLIED NOTHURA (Nothura boraquira)

As related above, an excellent job of spotting by Maggie, and then also Diane, as we swung back to find the bird -- which gave us all a really nice, relaxed view as the bird foraged fairly near the road!

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata)

BRAZILIAN TEAL (Amazonetta brasiliensis)

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)


Split from Variable Chachalaca not too long ago.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa)

This big, fancy pigeon is usually hard to see well when perched, but we had them close a couple of times this trip.

PICAZURO PIGEON (Patagioenas picazuro)

PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea) [*]

COMMON GROUND DOVE (Columbina passerina)

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

SCALED DOVE (Columbina squammata)

PICUI GROUND DOVE (Columbina picui)

RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GUIRA CUCKOO (Guira guira)

Lots of these crazy-looking cuckoos along roadsides -- this is among the several species characteristic of cerrados and other open habitats of central Brazil that have spread east into the Atlantic Forest region with the clearing of forested habitats.

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

Several found on day-roosts at Praia do Forte.

SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (NATTERERI) (Lurocalis semitorquatus nattereri)

A couple of these crepuscular nighthawks were foraging over the rooms at Serra Bonita, completely silently (again, done breeding, probably preparing to migrate out of the region).

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)

Apodidae (Swifts)

SICK'S SWIFT (Chaetura meridionalis)

Lots of great studies of this close relative of the North American-breeding Chimney Swift.

GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris)

LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis)

Seen nicely a couple of times; easy to miss this one.

FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata)

Several sightings, quite close a couple of times.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

HOOK-BILLED HERMIT (Glaucis dohrnii) [E]

Truly outstanding views of this very rare bird, and more than once!

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This is one heckuva nice photo of a rare Hook-billed Hermit, by tour participant Eric Carpenter.


REDDISH HERMIT (Phaethornis ruber)

SCALE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis eurynome)

Excellent perched views of this big, montane endemic at Boa Nova and Serra Bonita.

HORNED SUNGEM (Heliactin bilophus)

It was a real treat to see three or four of these spritely little cerrado hummers on our first morning out of Salvador -- thanks to Rafael for getting us into that interesting habitat!

BLACK-EARED FAIRY (Heliothryx auritus)

Seen nicely a couple of times.

RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus)

Wonderful views, over and over, of several glittering adult males nectaring at ground-level cactus flowers in perfect late-afternoon light.

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Eric Carpenter really captured the colors of this hovering Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, as it came in to nectar at the remaining blossoms of a Melocactus.

BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis)

RACKET-TIPPED THORNTAIL (Discosura longicaudus)

This little hummer is rarely seen, but we connected with an adult male that came in to mob a Least Pygmy-Owl a couple of times, hovering around it and perching for several seconds to show off its racket-tipped tail. Unfortunately, it was backlit so we couldn't appreciate the colors.

STRIPE-BREASTED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster squamosus) [E]

Good views of an immature male at Boa Nova.

GLITTERING-BELLIED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon lucidus)

VIOLET-CAPPED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania glaucopis)

Lots of this Atlantic Forest endemic.


And lots and lots of this big hummer!

SOMBRE HUMMINGBIRD (Eupetomena cirrochloris)

PLAIN-BELLIED EMERALD (Chrysuronia leucogaster)

Excellent studies in the mangrove area.

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Plain-bellied Emerald, a mangrove/restinga species occurring mainly in coastal Northeast Brazil. Photo by tour participant Eric Carpenter.



RUFOUS-THROATED SAPPHIRE (Hylocharis sapphirina)

WHITE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes cyanus)

BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes notata)

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

MANGROVE RAIL (Rallus longirostris)

No suspense at all, as one dashed out of the mangroves to run under the boardwalk and start calling back to us only a few feet away!

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Mangrove Rail was one of the first birds we saw in the mangrove region, and what a great view! Photo by tour participant Eric Carpenter.

BLACKISH RAIL (Pardirallus nigricans)

Eric made a great spot of an adult with a well-grown youngster in the marsh near Boa Nova.

LITTLE WOOD-RAIL (Aramides mangle)

Maybe the easiest Little Wood-Rails I have ever experienced, as the tide was perfect for finding them out at the edge of the mud, just past the dense growth of mangrove roots.

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Little Wood-Rail is another seldom-seen rail occurring mainly in coastal Northeast Brazil. Photo by tour participant Eric Carpenter.

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)

RUSSET-CROWNED CRAKE (Anurolimnas viridis) [*]

One came in quite close, but alas, failed to show.

Aramidae (Limpkin)

LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

COLLARED PLOVER (Charadrius collaris)

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

GIANT SNIPE (Gallinago undulata) [*]

Shoot, it just didn't work out for us this time around, as we only heard a couple of distant birds at dusk near Pocoes, and then got rained out of our old, reliable spot at Boa Nova.

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)

GREATER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa melanoleuca)

WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

RUFESCENT TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma lineatum)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa)

Excellent view of a soaring adult

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

HOOK-BILLED KITE (Chondrohierax uncinatus)

SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis)

CRANE HAWK (BANDED) (Geranospiza caerulescens gracilis)

RUFOUS CRAB HAWK (Buteogallus aequinoctialis)

SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis)

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus)

Strigidae (Owls)

LEAST PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium minutissimum) [E]

After hearing them several times, we finally saw a couple of these tiny owls well. This is the nominate (first-described) member of the widespread Least Pygmy-Owl complex, endemic to the Altantic Forest of Brazil.

BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia)

MOTTLED OWL (ATLANTIC FOREST) (Ciccaba virgata borelliana) [E]

This subspecies is another endemic owl, rather rarely seen but we did well with it this time.

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Mottled Owl (Atlantic Forest), by tour participant Eric Carpenter.

STYGIAN OWL (Asio stygius)

Yesss... we would be interested in seeing a Stygian Owl!

Trogonidae (Trogons)

GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis)

SURUCUA TROGON (Trogon surrucura) [E]

BLACK-THROATED TROGON (CHRYSOCHLOROS) (Trogon rufus chrysochloros) [E]

This form of Black-throated Trogon, seen well a couple of times, is an Atlantic Forest endemic, and will soon be recognized as a distinct species.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)


We were in two boats for our morning of birding tall mangrove forest, and Eric and a couple of other folks in the boat he was in spotted one of these kingfishers flying by, a rare sighting in coastal Brazil!

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

WHITE-EARED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus chacuru)

Excellent scope studies on our first morning afield, in close comparison with the next species, Spot-backed Puffbird!

SPOT-BACKED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus maculatus)

CRESCENT-CHESTED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila striata) [E]

Thanks to a great spot by Rafael, we enjoyed a nice scope view of this handsome, endemic puffbird.

SWALLOW-WINGED PUFFBIRD (Chelidoptera tenebrosa)

Galbulidae (Jacamars)

RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda)

Several sightings on several days.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

BLACK-NECKED ARACARI (Pteroglossus aracari)

SPOT-BILLED TOUCANET (Selenidera maculirostris) [E]

They didn't stay put for too long, but we did have good views.

CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus)

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

GOLDEN-SPANGLED PICULET (BAHIA) (Picumnus exilis exilis) [E]

A couple of good views of this nominate, endemic subspecies.

SPOTTED PICULET (Picumnus pygmaeus)

Diane was rewarded with a Spotted Piculet one morning!

WHITE WOODPECKER (Melanerpes candidus)

One encounter only, but it was an impressive sighting of several birds in good light (another central Brazil species that has spread irregularly eastward).

YELLOW-FRONTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes flavifrons)

Superb views of this gorgeous endemic woodpecker.

LITTLE WOODPECKER (Dryobates passerinus) [*]

RED-STAINED WOODPECKER (Dryobates affinis)

CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos)

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

RINGED WOODPECKER (ATLANTIC BLACK-BREASTED) (Celeus torquatus tinnunculus) [E]

Prolonged scope study of an adult male, rarely seen subspecies endemic to the Atlantic Forest (it will likely be split when someone gets around to studying the Ringed Woodpecker complex).

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Ringed Woodpecker (Atlantic Black-breasted), a cooperative (eventually!) adult male of this distinctive subspecies, endemic to the central Atlantic Forest region. Photo by tour participant Eric Carpenter.

YELLOW-THROATED WOODPECKER (Piculus flavigula erythropis) [E]

Another highly distinctive Atlantic Forest population that will probably be elevated to species status some day.

GREEN-BARRED WOODPECKER (Colaptes melanochloros)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus) [*]

CRESTED CARACARA (SOUTHERN) (Caracara plancus plancus)

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis)

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

BROWN-BACKED PARROTLET (Touit melanonotus)

**Any** sighting of this parrotlet, including high fly-overs like we had, near Itacare, is a red-letter event!

PLAIN PARAKEET (Brotogeris tirica)

SCALY-HEADED PARROT (Pionus maximiliani) [*]

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (REICHENOW'S) (Pionus menstruus reichenowi) [E]

RED-BROWED PARROT (Amazona rhodocorytha) [E*]

Heard super far-off at VERACEL, unusual not to see a few commuting around the reserve early mornings.

ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica)

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Orange-winged Parrots, by tour participant Eric Carpenter.

COBALT-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus xanthopterygius)

OCHRE-MARKED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura cruentata) [E]

One small flock of these beautiful parakeets ripped in to perch for good views, but they didn't stick long enough for the scope.

MAROON-BELLIED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura frontalis)

GRAY-BREASTED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura griseipectus) [E]

As described above, one of the highlights of the tour was getting such great views of this recently discovered bird.

MAROON-FACED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura leucotis) [E]


CACTUS PARAKEET (Eupsittula cactorum) [E]

Really nice and close at Boa Nova.

GOLDEN-CAPPED PARAKEET (Aratinga auricapillus auricapillus) [E]

Another attractive, endemic parakeet, also seen well on multiple days.

BLUE-WINGED MACAW (Primolius maracana)

Only a couple of high fly-overs this trip.

WHITE-EYED PARAKEET (Psittacara leucophthalmus)

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

SPOT-BACKED ANTSHRIKE (Hypoedaleus guttatus) [E]

After hearing this ornately patterned antshrike very far away a couple of times, we tried a little "longline fishing" that eventually did the trick, resulting in good, lengthy scope views of an adult male.

TUFTED ANTSHRIKE (Mackenziaena severa) [E*]

GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major)

Good views of the distinctive, easternmost subspecies T. m. stagurus, with bold white wing-bars and tail spots.

SILVERY-CHEEKED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus cristatus) [E]

This handsome antshrike was seen very nicely a few times; it is now in the monotypic genus Sakesphoroides.

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (CAATINGA) (Thamnophilus doliatus capistratus) [E]

Male and female of this distinctive subspecies in the widespread Barred Antshrike complex were seen very well at Boa Nova.

CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus palliatus)

A gorgeous male tried to distract us from our first Kinglet Manakin by coming in to feed a fledgling, then sitting in plain sight for several minutes!

PLANALTO SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus pelzelni)

Great, close, tail-jiggling views on a couple of occasions.

SOORETAMA SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus ambiguus) [E]

Ditto that remark, just later in the trip, in the lowland Atlantic Forest areas.

VARIABLE ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus caerulescens) [E]

Nice views at Boa Nova, an unnamed population.

STAR-THROATED ANTWREN (Rhopias gularis) [*]

Darn, couldn't coax them into view at Serra Bonita, near the northernmost point in the species distribution.

SPOT-BREASTED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus stictothorax) [E]

PLUMBEOUS ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus plumbeus) [E]

Great views of a singing male, and a more secretive female, at Serra Bonita. This is one we don't get (certainly not regularly) on any other tour.

CINEREOUS ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes caesius) [*]

WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (SILVERY-FLANKED) (Myrmotherula axillaris luctuosa) [E]

Watch for this Atlantic Forest subspecies to be elevated to species status. It is distinctive both in plumage and vocalizations.

BAND-TAILED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula urosticta) [E]

A very nice view of an adult male at Itacare, another species we don't usually get on any other tour.

STRIPE-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmorchilus strigilatus strigilatus)

Beautifully at Boa Nova!

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A male Stripe-backed Antbird, by tour participant Eric Carpenter.

CAATINGA ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus sellowi)

This highly distinctive little antwren, described to science only in 2000, has recently (2021) been transferred to a brand-new genus, Radinopsyche. We had excellent views of males and also a female.

BAHIA ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus pileatus) [E]

This is the sister-species of widespread Black-capped Antwren, inhabiting the coastal region of Bahia.

BLACK-CAPPED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus atricapillus)

RUFOUS-MARGINED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus rufimarginatus) [E]

This is true (nominate) rufimarginatus, endemic to the southern Atlantic Forest region, as far north as southern Bahia, where we saw it on a couple of days. For some reason, "they" changed the name from long-standing Rufous-winged to brand-new but much too similar Rufous-margined Antwren (eye-roll).

NARROW-BILLED ANTWREN (Formicivora iheringi) [E]

Excellent views of a pair at Poções; a highly distinctive species.

WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (Formicivora grisea)

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A fine male White-fringed Antwren, by tour participant Eric Carpenter.

BLACK-BELLIED ANTWREN (Formicivora melanogaster)

RUSTY-BACKED ANTWREN (Formicivora rufa)

Great looks at a pair on our first hour in the field, headed north out of Salvador.

FERRUGINOUS ANTBIRD (Drymophila ferruginea) [E]

This gorgeous little antbird performed really well at Boa Nova.

SCALED ANTBIRD (Drymophila squamata) [E]

STREAK-CAPPED ANTWREN (Terenura maculata)

RIO DE JANEIRO ANTBIRD (Cercomacra brasiliana) [E]

It took a couple of concerted attempts, but we came away with a fine view of a singing male.

FRINGE-BACKED FIRE-EYE (Pyriglena atra) [E]

This rare bird put on a thrilling show for us, sneaking in behind a dense place in the understory to eventually work its way to a perch only about 20 feet away from us, below eye-level!

WHITE-SHOULDERED FIRE-EYE (Pyriglena leucoptera) [E]

Fabulous views of a bunch of these tail-pumping antbirds at an army ant swarm near Boa Nova.

SLENDER ANTBIRD (Rhopornis ardesiacus) [E]

Fine views of a couple of pairs near Pocoes.

WHITE-BIBBED ANTBIRD (Myrmoderus loricatus) [E]

Conopophagidae (Gnateaters)

BLACK-CHEEKED GNATEATER (Conopophaga melanops perspicillata) [E]

Seen well near Itacaré.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Black-cheeked Gnateater, by tour participant Eric Carpenter.

RUFOUS GNATEATER (Conopophaga lineata lineata) [E]

The birds at Boa Nova probably pertain to the nominate population (there are several poorly delimited subspecies in the complex).

Grallariidae (Antpittas)

VARIEGATED ANTPITTA (Grallaria varia) [*]

WHITE-BROWED ANTPITTA (Hylopezus ochroleucus) [E*]

We never managed to get close to one this trip.

Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)

BAHIA TAPACULO (Eleoscytalopus psychopompus) [E*]

A frustrating experience with this rarely seen species, as the breeding season had apparently passed and the birds at two places were very quiet; we heard a very distant bird sing several times, only after considerable playback. We'er hoping that next year, earlier in the year, will be more propitious!

Formicariidae (Antthrushes)

RUFOUS-CAPPED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius colma) [*]

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)


OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (OLIVACEOUS) (Sittasomus griseicapillus olivaceus) [*]

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (OLIVACEOUS) (Sittasomus griseicapillus sylviellus) [E*]

PLAIN-WINGED WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla turdina) [E]

WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (CUNEATUS GROUP) (Glyphorynchus spirurus cuneatus)

This tiny woodcreeper is widespread in Amazonia and lower Andean slopes, but rather rare and local in the Atlantic Forest.

PLANALTO WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes platyrostris)

WHITE-THROATED WOODCREEPER (Xiphocolaptes albicollis)

Just one sighting, but it was impressive.

LESSER WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus fuscus tenuirostris) [E]

At the moment, this subspecies, and the southerly nominate, are still called Lesser Woodcreeper, after the northernmost population, atlanticus, was recently split and named Ceara Woodcreeper. Watch for a further split of tenuirostris from the nominate; their voices are remarkably different.

BUFF-THROATED WOODCREEPER (BUFF-THROATED) (Xiphorhynchus guttatus guttatus)

The nominate subspecies, endemic to the Atlantic Forest.


Atlantic Forest endemic (and disjunct) subspecies bahiae.

RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris trochilirostris) [E]

It was great to get good views of this nominate subspecies, which inhabits a small range in the sandy-soil Atlantic Forest of southern Bahia.

BLACK-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus falcularius) [E]

The only one we ended up seeing was at Pocoes, on our way up the drier hill toward the humid forest.

NARROW-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes angustirostris)

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)

STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans)

WING-BANDED HORNERO (Furnarius figulus)

PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (Furnarius leucopus)

RUFOUS HORNERO (Furnarius rufus)


Outstanding views of a pair at Boa Nova.


Generally quiet this trip, but we managed to pull in a couple of individuals.

GREAT XENOPS (Megaxenops parnaguae) [E*]

Fine views of this special bird!

PALE-BROWED TREEHUNTER (PALE-TAILED) (Cichlocolaptes leucophrus leucophrus) [E]

This, the nominate form, was seen well at Serra Bonita.

BLACK-CAPPED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor atricapillus) [E]

Also seen very nicely.

OCHRE-BREASTED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia lichtensteini) [E*]


It took some perseverance, but we did eventually locate a pair of these big foliage-gleaners for very nice views.

WHITE-EYED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Automolus leucophthalmus leucophthalmus)

RUFOUS-FRONTED THORNBIRD (RUFOUS-FRONTED) (Phacellodomus rufifrons rufifrons)

STRIATED SOFTTAIL (Thripophaga macroura) [E]

Good views of a foraging bird at Boa Nova.

PALLID SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca pallida) [E]

CAATINGA CACHOLOTE (Pseudoseisura cristata) [E]

Seen well several times, including at their monstrous stick-nest.

YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus)

BAHIA SPINETAIL (Synallaxis cinerea) [E]

Just one pair performed well, but it was a very nice performance!

PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens)

Pipridae (Manakins)


WIED'S TYRANT-MANAKIN (Neopelma aurifrons) [E]

Multiple great studies of a couple of these rare birds above Pocoes.

BLUE-BACKED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia pareola)

SWALLOW-TAILED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia caudata) [E]

Seen well, but there were relatively fewer birds in adult male plumage than we typically see earlier in the year.

PIN-TAILED MANAKIN (Ilicura militaris) [E]

Wow, this one really boled us over; such a strange little manakin, endemic to the Atlantic Forest.

WHITE-BEARDED MANAKIN (Manacus manacus) [*]

KINGLET MANAKIN (Machaeropterus regulus) [E]

We don't typically see this rare manakin on any other tour (now that the Atlantic Forest population has been split from Amazonian birds), so it was a high priority -- and it did not disappoint!

Field Guides Birding Tours
Kinglet Manakin was seen exeptionally well, and several times, on the tour. Photo by tour participant Eric Carpenter.

RED-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra rubrocapilla)

Good views of males on their display perches a couple of times.

Cotingidae (Cotingas)

BLACK-HEADED BERRYEATER (Carpornis melanocephala) [E*]

Darn, couldn't get a rather distant, but calling bird to move closer.

BANDED COTINGA (Cotinga maculata) [E]

Aarrgh, we missed a nice view by seconds!

SCREAMING PIHA (Lipaugus vociferans)

Seen well near Itacaré.

CINNAMON-VENTED PIHA (Lipaugus lanioides) [E]

Not seen terribly well this trip (not that there is much more to see than what we got!).

BARE-THROATED BELLBIRD (Procnias nudicollis) [E]

Eric spotted an immature male (or possibly female) at Serra Bonita, the only one of the trip (besides another individual heard in the distance).

WHITE-WINGED COTINGA (Xipholena atropurpurea) [E]

We enjoyed a wonderful experience with several of these flashy cotingas feeding actively on small fruits right beside the road near Itacaré.

Field Guides Birding Tours
One of several White-winged Cotingas that were feeding actively on small fruits near Itacaré. Photo by tour participant Eric Carpenter.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)


BROWN-WINGED SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis turdina)

Both Schiffornis were seen reasonably well; always tough to get your bin's on as they dart through the undergrowth.

GREENISH SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis virescens) [E]


Seen only as a fly-by above Pocoes; it must have flown a long way, out of earshot of our (loud!) recording.

GREEN-BACKED BECARD (Pachyramphus viridis)

Seen well a couple of times.

CHESTNUT-CROWNED BECARD (Pachyramphus castaneus)

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)

BLACK-CAPPED BECARD (Pachyramphus marginatus) [*]

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

SHARPBILL (Oxyruncus cristatus)

One especially nice view at Serra Bonita, thanks to a good spot by Maggie.

WHISKERED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius barbatus)

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus)

OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)

SEPIA-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon amaurocephalus)

BAHIA TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes beckeri) [E]

With perseverance, we eventually tracked down a pair of these rare (and recently described to science) tyrannulets.

SOUTHERN ANTPIPIT (Corythopis delalandi) [*]

EARED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis auricularis)

DRAB-BREASTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus diops) [E]

A really fine, close view of one at Boa Nova.

HANGNEST TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus nidipendulus) [E]

Also seen well this trip.

PEARLY-VENTED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, by tour participant Eric Carpenter.

OCHRE-FACED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus plumbeiceps)

SMOKY-FRONTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus fumifrons)

This was one of the first birds of the tour, near Palmares!

GRAY-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum poliocephalum) [E]

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

OLIVACEOUS FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus olivaceus)

YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (MATO GROSSO) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens pallescens)

This one was seen around Pocoes

YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (SOORETAMA) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens sulphurescens) [E*]

Heard around Serra Bonita.

GRAY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias poliocephalus)

YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris)

CLIFF FLYCATCHER (SWALLOW) (Hirundinea ferruginea bellicosa)



SUIRIRI FLYCATCHER (Suiriri suiriri bahiae)


YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola)

GRAY ELAENIA (Myiopagis caniceps)

GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata)

PLAIN-CRESTED ELAENIA (Elaenia cristata)

The five species of Elaenias here were seen well, most of them repeatedly, which helped cement their differences in appearance.

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)

LARGE ELAENIA (Elaenia spectabilis)

LESSER ELAENIA (Elaenia chiriquensis)

WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (CHILEAN) (Elaenia albiceps chilensis)

It was especially ineresting to see this species several places, where wintering populations seem to vary annually.

WHITE-CRESTED TYRANNULET (Serpophaga subcristata)

REISER'S TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias reiseri) [E]

We were very fortunate to pull out a silent bird above Pocoes, for very nice views!

PLANALTO TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias fasciatus)

GRAY-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseocapilla) [E]

Seen well at Pocoes; watch for it to be moved to the genus Zimmerius.

LESSER WAGTAIL-TYRANT (BAHIA) (Stigmatura napensis bahiae) [E*]

This subspecies, endemic to NE Brazil and south into Bahia, differs distinctively from nominate, Amazonian birds.

BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus)

EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri) [*]

TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus)

WHITE MONJITA (Xolmis irupero niveus) [E]

This elegant bird was seen well several times this trip; subspecies niveus is endemic to NE Brazil.

WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala)

MASKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola nengeta)

A familiar, entertaining companion on many days of the tour.

LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus)

BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) [*]

GRAYISH MOURNER (Rhytipterna simplex)

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)

SWAINSON'S FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus swainsoni) [*]


BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

CATTLE TYRANT (Machetornis rixosa)

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

THREE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Conopias trivirgatus)

We finally found a pair near Serra Bonita.

VARIEGATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus varius)

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)


Perhaps the most distinctive habitats we birded were those around the little towns of Poções and Boa Nova, in the interior of southern Bahia. These remnant forests harbor a high diversity of rare endemic birds, and we did very well with locating them. Here are a few of those special places, and birds. HD video by Bret Whitney.

GRAY-EYED GREENLET (Hylophilus amaurocephalus) [E]

Good views a few times, including a bird on a nest right over a road.

CHIVI VIREO (MIGRATORY) (Vireo chivi chivi)

This recent split from Red-eyed Vireo was seen well on many days, but numbers were not very high, and there were none the last couple of days.

Donacobiidae (Donacobius)

BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)


WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer)

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus)

TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea)

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

THRUSH-LIKE WREN (Campylorhynchus turdinus turdinus) [E]

MOUSTACHED WREN (Pheugopedius genibarbis)

LONG-BILLED WREN (Cantorchilus longirostris bahiae) [E]

Multiple fine views of this distinctive wren.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)


TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (TROPICAL) (Mimus gilvus antelius) [E]

This subspecies in restricted to the coast of Brazil.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

RUFOUS-BROWN SOLITAIRE (Cichlopsis leucogenys)

Seen nicely at Serra Bonita; rarely seen in the Atlantic Forest!

PALE-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus leucomelas)

YELLOW-LEGGED THRUSH (Turdus flavipes)

WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (Turdus albicollis)

RUFOUS-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus rufiventris)

CREAMY-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus amaurochalinus)

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)

YELLOWISH PIPIT (Anthus lutescens)

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

BLUE-NAPED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia cyanea)

Just a couple of brief sightings.

PURPLE-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chlorotica)

VIOLACEOUS EUPHONIA (Euphonia violacea)

ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster)

CHESTNUT-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia pectoralis) [E]

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

PECTORAL SPARROW (Arremon taciturnus) [*]

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)


RED-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus haemorrhous)

VARIABLE ORIOLE (CHESTNUT-SHOULDERED) (Icterus pyrrhopterus pyrrhopterus)

CAMPO TROUPIAL (Icterus jamacaii)

Just a few of these flashy orioles this trip.

SCREAMING COWBIRD (Molothrus rufoaxillaris)

One near Itacaré was a good record; the species has been expanding northwards, in disturbed habitats and in small numbers, for at least the past 20 years.

SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)

CHOPI BLACKBIRD (Gnorimopsar chopi)

PALE BAYWING (Agelaioides fringillarius)

We ran into a couple of small groups of these odd blackbirds around Boa Nova.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis aequinoctialis)

TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)

GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus)

FLAVESCENT WARBLER (Myiothlypis flaveola)

Good looks several times.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)


YELLOW-GREEN GROSBEAK (Caryothraustes canadensis frontalis) [*]

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

RED-COWLED CARDINAL (Paroaria dominicana) [E]

Small numbers of this endemic cardinal along the route.

CINNAMON TANAGER (Schistochlamys ruficapillus)

Seen well a couple of times.

SCARLET-THROATED TANAGER (Compsothraupis loricata) [E]

Nice views of this distinctive endemic near Pocoes.

HOODED TANAGER (Nemosia pileata)

ORANGE-HEADED TANAGER (Thlypopsis sordida)

BLACK-GOGGLED TANAGER (Trichothraupis melanops)

Great views at an army ant swarm near Boa Noa.

FLAME-CRESTED TANAGER (Loriotus cristatus)

WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus)

BRAZILIAN TANAGER (Ramphocelus bresilius) [E]

Not very many sightings, but the ones we had were beauties!

SAYACA TANAGER (Thraupis sayaca)


PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)


OPAL-RUMPED TANAGER (SILVER-BREASTED) (Tangara velia cyanomelas) [E]

Just one sighting at a set of feeders; this subspeices has a small range, mostly in Bahia.

GREEN-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara seledon) [E]

Gorgeous bird!

RED-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanocephala corallina) [E]

Actually, all of the Tangaras were beautiful birds, mostly seen more than just once or twice.

GILT-EDGED TANAGER (Tangara cyanoventris) [E]

Good above Boa Nova.

BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)


GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)

RUFOUS-HEADED TANAGER (Hemithraupis ruficapilla) [E]

YELLOW-BACKED TANAGER (Hemithraupis flavicollis melanoxantha) [E]

BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor)

In the mangroves near Conde.

CHESTNUT-VENTED CONEBILL (Conirostrum speciosum)

SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola)

BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)

WHITE-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila leucoptera)

YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis)

WHITE-THROATED SEEDEATER (Sporophila albogularis) [E]

This seedeater is a NE Brazil endemic, occurring mostly interior of our tour route, but we had nice views of several individuals near Boa Nova.

PILEATED FINCH (Coryphospingus pileatus)

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)


BLACK-THROATED GROSBEAK (Saltator fuliginosus) [E]

Nicely at Serra Bonita.


COMMON OPOSSUM (Didelphis marsupialis)

One sighting only.

LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso)

Several of these tiny bats were studied at close range near Praia do Forte, on our way north to the mangrove region.

GREATER BULLDOG BAT (Noctilio leporinus)

A couple of these huge bats patrolled the waterfront just as we were returning from our afternoon outing in the mangroves.

BRAZILIAN FREE-TAILED BAT (Tadarida brasiliensis)

These were the most numerous bat we saw, with some present every dusk period, flying high and fast.

TUFTED-EAR MARMOSET (Callithrix jacchus) [E]

We saw a few of these marmosets early in the tour, around Praia do Forte/Conde.

TUFTED-EAR MARMOSET (Callithrix jacchus geoffroyi) [E]

Around Boa Nova, a rather rare animal.

MASKED TITI MONKEY (Callicebus personatus) [E*]


One seen well at VERACEL.

MANED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus torquatus)

Wow! It was wonderful to see a couple of these rare sloths near Praia do Forte.

Totals for the tour: 371 bird taxa and 9 mammal taxa